Progress in pain management

Pain management is not always given the priority it deserves. An RCN framework aims to equip nurses with the knowledge and skills to assess and support people in pain and to improve pain management practice.

According to the British Pain Society, almost ten million people experience pain most days in the UK, and the Trades Union Congress estimates 4.9 million working days are lost each year due to back pain alone.

Picture credit: Science Photo Library

‘Chronic pain affects people’s ability to socialise, and their hygiene, mood and sleep,’ says Felicia Cox, lead nurse specialist and head of pain services at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust in London, and chair of the RCN pain and palliative care forum. ‘Pain is one of the leading causes of re-admission after surgery, contributes to extended hospital stay, and is among the most common reasons to visit a GP.’

Assessing and managing pain are key to nursing care, yet the RCN says nurses often do both poorly. An inadequate response to pain was among the issues highlighted in the Francis inquiry into poor


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